Evans, GA (WJBF)—A local parent is upset. She says school administrators asked her child to remove his pants during a search. School leaders say that is not how it happened.
NewsChannel 6 has the exclusive interview with the mom and response from the Board of Education.
Melissa Brown is the mother of an 8th grader at Evans Middle School. She tells NewsChannel 6, school administrators searched her son because another student said he had a vaporizer on him. A vaporizer is similar to an e-cigarette. Brown says part of the search involved them asking her 14-year-old son to take off his pants. Now, she wants the school board to take a closer look at these kinds of situations.
Brown says she had to have a tough conversation with her 8th grader on Tuesday night. She recounts what she told her son about the day he described at school.
“[I told him] that at no time, no adult, no child, no teacher, no principal, nobody should tell you to undress and you think that it’s ok because it’s not,” Brown said.
Brown described to us her son’s account of what happened to him at school on Tuesday. She says, school administrators first searched her son’s locker, then his book bag looking for the vaporizer. She says, next, they asked him to remove his jacket, lift up his shirt and empty his pockets.
“He did that,” Brown says. “There was nothing. And then they told him to remove his pants and he had shorts underneath his pants, his blue jeans. He plays baseball for the school…And then they searched his shorts. They found nothing.”
Brown says it was not the search itself that upset her. “If it was for a weapon, or something that was going to cause bodily harm, then of course, you know, do what you gotta do, but that wasn’t the case,” says Brown.
Her main complaint was the following.
“I had a problem when you told my son to remove his clothing,” she says. “I find it very disturbing that an authority figure and that a child could feel that it’s ok for that authority figure to tell him to undress.”
This is how the Columbia County Board of Education describes what happened.
A representative with CCBOE said there was no strip search on [Tuesday]. An administrator asked the student to empty the pockets of his jeans, and the student did. The administrator noticed gym shorts under the jeans and asked the student to empty the pockets of those shorts, and the student did. The board of education says, no flesh was seen and there were 2 assistant principals present—one male and one female.
Brown tells NewsChannel 6 she hopes drawing attention to the situation—brings some kind of change.
“I do not want this to happen to other children…There needs to be a deep discussion among these authorities, that this is not right,” Brown says.
The Columbia County Board of Education says their search policy would never include asking a student to remove their clothes involuntarily.